Ocean Coho Prediction, Early Columbia Springer Season Ideas Out
It’s not as bonkers as 2021’s forecast, but a big cohort of coho is forecasted to be off the Northwest Coast this summer.
Managers are calling for a preharvest abundance of 1.226 million Columbia- and Oregon-bound silvers in the Pacific, according to a prediction out today.
By comparison, last year’s forecast called for 1.73 million coho, while some 1.114 million actually were out there.
Before the fleets take their share, the 2022 numbers break down as 592,500 early Columbia coho, 404,700 late Columbia coho, 209,000 Oregon Coast natural-origin river coho and 13,400 Oregon Coast natural-origin lake coho, among other runs.
The figures come from a Columbia River Commercial Advisor Group Meeting packet that was posted on WDFW’s website for a meeting today.
The agency also huddled with its Columbia River Recreational Fishing Advisory Group to talk about spring Chinook fishery possibilities.
That meeting packet states that there are 3,913 upriver-bound springer mortalities available below Bonneville, given the forecast of 122,900 fish heading to tribs above the dam, 30 percent runsize buffer and 1.6 percent ESA limit, prior to mid-May’s return update.
The available catch is over 1,700 springers stronger than last year’s 2,206.
There are also available kings heading to Lower Columbia streams like the Willamette, Cowlitz, Lewis, Kalama and elsewhere.
Speaking of those Washington-side rivers, the Columbia immediately off and below their mouths may reopen after having been closed in part or full in recent years due to broodstock collection concerns related to reseeding efforts in the upper basins of the Cowlitz and Lewis.
“Assuming a seven-day per week fishery from B10 upstream to Bonneville Dam (bank only upstream of Beacon Rock), model results indicate the season would need to close after April 6 to remain within the pre-update guideline. Staff estimates this season structure could result in 6,612 fish handled (5,179 kept), including 3,896 upriver CHS mortalities (99.6% of pre-update guideline) from about 57,000 angler trips,” meeting information states.
It also outlines four scenarios for the “Zone 6” springer fishery, the Columbia Gorge pools, with opening dates from March 16 to April 1 or 16, to May 1. Generally, the earlier the opener, the more fishing days and higher likelihood of reaching the cap of 559 mortalities, and the later the opener, the fewer the days and lower the catch.
And in the Snake, Washington managers are looking at 542 mortalities, just shy of 300 more than in 2021, but it will also depend on mark rates